Short opening chapters quickly draw the reader into this realistic yet paranormal YA romance that will both fairly and unfairly draw comparisons to Tw...moreShort opening chapters quickly draw the reader into this realistic yet paranormal YA romance that will both fairly and unfairly draw comparisons to Twilight.
Unfairly, because this is so much better and more than that; fairly, because it has similar themes and works well as a read alike. It would work very very well as a book to hand over to someone who enjoyed Twilight but was left wanting more. Since it deals with werewolves, it would be particularly useful for disappointed members of "Team Jacob".
A regular girl is obsessed with the wolves in the woods around her house, in particular one that she dubs "her wolf", with yellow eyes. This wolf is (unbeknown to her) a human who is a wolf for most of the year. The story continues with romance, mystery, and adventure. The two leads, Grace and Sam, are well rounded characters with flaws, their love is shown as flawed yet right. Deeper relationship issues are explored, such as loving Sam for who he is, not just because he is some sexy supernatural creature. Grace shows strength of character, and if Ms. Stiefvater makes the reader fall a little in love with Sam, she shows why Grace is his perfect mate, why they deserve each other. She is not just "the girl". None of the characters are really black and white, Sam's issues with his "pack" and the wolf/man who raised him are much more realistic than any villain.
The fact that I really enjoyed the book does not mean it's perfect, it suffers from "Convenient Coincidence" syndrome, in particular that most common of YA lit diseases, "Convenient Absentee Parents". However, all of the flaws seem easily fixable, each one an acceptable loose end for the sequels (hopefully just a trilogy, and not a never ending series). The absentee parents are an issue that Grace feels upset about, the less rounded side characters could easily change (possibly not Rachel, teen stereotype that she was, but there's DEFINITELY a story in the police officer), and every thing else, while a bit too convenient, were at least set up enough in advance that it wasn't jarring. There are a few definite plot hooks, you can guess some points that will be extremely important in the next one or two, but not so obviously that you are screaming at the characters to realize it as well.
All in all, I am very excited to see where this series goes. I would recommend this to any teen who likes books with supernatural characters. While more female main characters, and the premise as described on the book jacket, will probably lean the audience towards girls, I think it would be more than suitable for boys as there is a lot of excitement and suspense, fighting, some bloodier bits, as well as the romance and descriptions of obsessive and desirous first love. (less)
I was disappointed actually. Confusing, unsatisfying plot, I never sympathized with the protagonist, never saw why she liked the love interest. Obviou...moreI was disappointed actually. Confusing, unsatisfying plot, I never sympathized with the protagonist, never saw why she liked the love interest. Obviously, anything with folkloric themes is going to be formulaic, but this managed to be formulaic without having any sort of clever addition.
It was a quick read, and maybe a teen who devours anything with a fairy tale plot will enjoy it. (less)
Very good portrait of grief, of childhood to teenage friendships, all of the emotions rang very very true.
Other reviews say more than I have to say,...moreVery good portrait of grief, of childhood to teenage friendships, all of the emotions rang very very true.
Other reviews say more than I have to say, and better, so I will just leave these thoughts, I like that this portrays losing your virginity (with someone you may never see again!), sneaking out of the house after your parents are asleep, and getting drunk at a party all without it being THE END OF THE WORLD! (less)
I'm reviewing this only an hour or two after finishing the book, and maybe tomorrow or the next day my feeling will be different. This is a great book...moreI'm reviewing this only an hour or two after finishing the book, and maybe tomorrow or the next day my feeling will be different. This is a great book. I can say that in an "obviously" sort of way. However, I don't know if I liked it, it is certainly not enjoyable. It is uncomfortable, that is perhaps part of the point. I hate to simplify it to a zombie novel, it is dystopian, it is a look at what will a society in turmoil rely on (this particular village relies on religion), it is post-apocalyptic. And I suppose The Unconsecrated are zombies. The society is very insular, part of the book takes place in high narrow fences, and the writing FORCES you to feel claustrophobic. You often feel trapped inside Mary's head. Occasionally something of high suspense and great import happened and it made no sense to me, I couldn't understand it, because we are viewing it through Mary and she wouldn't give me the information I needed. It was pretty powerful stuff.(less)
I want to say as little about it as possible, because the twists and surprises are the best part.
It works as a wonderful second act, I now actually un...moreI want to say as little about it as possible, because the twists and surprises are the best part.
It works as a wonderful second act, I now actually understand why the first book ended where it did and not a chapter sooner as I (and many others) thought it should have. The pacing felt strange, but again, now that I am finished, I can see how superbly executed it was. If you enjoyed the first one, I don't think you will be at all disappointed with this.
The only note I want to point out is that you DO need to read The Hunger Games. One would miss an awful damn lot if one began with this book. The beginning rehashes enough of Hunger Games that I felt caught up even though I read it several months ago, but there's very little repeat and you will want to be on your toes, so to speak.
**spoiler alert** I'm harsher on this than other books, simply because these types of novels are my favorite, dystopian world building, coming of age,...more**spoiler alert** I'm harsher on this than other books, simply because these types of novels are my favorite, dystopian world building, coming of age, growing to realize that what you've been told your entire life is wrong...
This fell flat for me. I almost felt like I didn't know what story the author was telling. Is this the parent's story, or the child's story? I never felt invested in either. I kept feeling angry at the parents, recklessly putting their children's lives in danger, in most circumstances I admire the character who plays within the rules, and takes those rules and slightly bends them to his or her own benefit. Not the couple who ignore the rules and then get plucked out of their children's lives leaving them to fend for themselves.
I saw very little character growth in Honor, her as a ten year old and her as a fourteen year old were the same. Too much of the book felt like "here is an example of why the society is bad" "hey look an incidence of control", the society was never shown as evil, and instead of realistic subtlety, it just felt not fully fleshed out. I had a hard time believing that these "orderlies" were fully brainwashed into doing complex tasks with no rebellion, but Pamela could send a code in base two to her daughter. The ending wrapped up very quickly and easily, with no sense to me of immediate danger.
I guess I am enumerating the flaws because they so easily don't have to be there. It felt more like a draft to me than a finished book. Some more focus, attention to audience and which story exactly should be told. I think I should try the author's adult books, I think I might find ther focus matching the writing there.(less)
Solid, if not amazing. I think I still like Rumors better. Not enough scandal or twists for me, actually, but it sets things up well for the next book...moreSolid, if not amazing. I think I still like Rumors better. Not enough scandal or twists for me, actually, but it sets things up well for the next book, in the same way Luxe set things up well for Rumors. Maybe every other book will be awesome.(less)
A first novel with some first novel problems, but mostly very good and very enjoyable. There are a few clues that this is a YA novel and not a Romance...moreA first novel with some first novel problems, but mostly very good and very enjoyable. There are a few clues that this is a YA novel and not a Romance novel, but ultimately would work well for the girl who reads all of her mom/the library's romance novels and wants something more relate able, or the girl who wants to branch out from YA novels into the popular Romance novel. There's no sex, the physical attraction is purely focused on "he's handsome!" and kissing, so less sexy than my 'trashy' romances, but actually more sexy than a lot of my 'sweet' romances where often the physical is barely even mentioned.
Ms. MacLean does a great job of keeping these girls at age 17 in the Regency period. Close enough to 17 year olds of today for relatability, but still very much the 17 year olds of their time (adults, with a responsibility to marry and have kids ASAP). I got annoyed at the kid/teen book cliche of the young protagonists trying to solve problems themselves without going to authority figures, but one character at least mentioned that they were being silly about it. I also got annoyed at the anachronistic feminism, but again couldn't get too perturbed because it may not be too realistic but at least it's a good role model.
I want to give a kudos to the design team at the publishing company for ONCE actually providing a cover that makes sense! The three girls actually fit the descriptions of the main characters, down to the dresses they wear to a ball in a pivotal scene.
Finally, I hope that this will become a trilogy, as I want to read Ella and Vivi's stories (I am pretty sure who each will end up with, based on convention), and of course I think introducing girls to the romance of Regency England will increase a love of learning of history.(less)
The plot is exactly the same as several other "small town girl becomes model, deals with all the issues, gets overwhelmed, gives it up" books I have r...moreThe plot is exactly the same as several other "small town girl becomes model, deals with all the issues, gets overwhelmed, gives it up" books I have read, but it is still good and still worth reading. The cultural references are spot on, not so big that they will be quickly dated, but big enough that it doesnt sound like the one mom you know who tries to be hip with her teen daughters.
The writing is very good, the voice is accurate and fresh, and I am very interested in reading the next two to see where this is going, which makes up for any cliche or bubblegum too happy plotline there might be.(less)